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New application of strontium isotopes reveals evidence of limited migratory behaviour in Late Cretaceous hadrosaurs

Citation

Terrill, David; Henderson, Charles; Anderson, Jason (2020), New application of strontium isotopes reveals evidence of limited migratory behaviour in Late Cretaceous hadrosaurs, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.x95x69pf0

Abstract

Dinosaur migration patterns are very difficult to determine, often relying solely on the geographic distribution of fossils.  Unfortunately, it is generally not possible to determine if a fossil taxon’s geographic distribution is the result of migration or simply a wide distribution.  Whereas some attempts have been made to use isotopic systems to determine migratory patterns in dinosaurs, these methods have yet to achieve wider usage in the study of dinosaur ecology.

Here we have used strontium isotope ratios from fossil enamel to reconstruct the movements of an individual hadrosaur from Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada.  Results from this study are consistent with a range or migratory pattern between Dinosaur Provincial Park and a contemporaneous locality in the South Saskatchewan River area, Alberta Canada.  This represents a minimum distance of approximately 80 km, which is consistent with migrations seen in modern elephants. These results suggest the continent-wide distribution of some hadrosaur species in the Late Cretaceous of North America is not the result of extremely long-range migratory behaviours.

Methods

Data was obtained from manually collected powders derived from fossil materials.  All samples were measured using Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS).  No corrections have been applied to the data, nor has it been transformed.  See manuscript supplimentary for details.

Funding

Dinosaur Research Institute